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Just Retirement suffers 37% drop in annuity sales

Just Retirement has seen annuity sales drop by 37 per cent for the three months to 31 March, with total sales also falling 45 per cent.

For the quarter, annuity sales tumbled from £338.1m to £213.4m, while total sales fell from £497.3m to £276.1m.

For the nine months to March annuity sales were down 15 per cent at £874.6m, from £1bn for the same period of 2014.

The decline was biggest in individually underwritten products, which slipped 62 per cent over the quarter from £287.5m to £109.1m.

Lifetime mortgage sales were also down during the quarter, dropping 61 per cent for the quarter from £159.2m to £62.7m.

As a result of the declines, total premiums for the three months to 31 March fell by 45 per cent from £497.3m to £276.1m.

The losses were, in part, mitigated by sharp growth in defined benefit de-risking, which more than doubled on a quarterly basis from £37m to £93.3m.

Just Retirement chief executive Rodney Cook says the results reflect a “creditable” performance in light of expected reductions in the build up to pensions freedom.

He says: “In Q3 our DB team delivered its second highest quarterly sales volume so far, and the pipeline remains strong.

“I believe medical underwriting is progressively becoming the default choice for employee benefit consultants seeking best value for the trustees of smaller schemes. We expect to deliver further growth in this area in coming years.”

The firm has also announced a deal to partner with State Street Global Advisors to provide access to a range of new multi-asset funds through its flexible pension plan.

As a result of the deal, Just Retirement can now offer eight risk-graded funds spread across markets, all managed by State Street.

Just Retirement group communications director Stephen Lowe says: “This will enable people to mix-and-match their retirement savings, to ensure their regular expenditure is covered by a guaranteed income for life and keep any additional savings flexible for those just-in-case moments of unplanned irregular expenditure.”

State Street Global Advisors senior DC strategist Alistair Byrne adds: “The freedom and choice reforms will revolutionise the retirement landscape in the UK.  Pension scheme members now have the freedom to access their retirement assets in the way that suits them best, and there is a need for post-retirement solutions that meet the needs of members who want to remain invested after retirement.”

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